Children have little access to health, education
JALALABAD (Pajhwok): As many as 234,000 children in the eastern zone do not have access to schools, with 12,500 left out of polio vaccination drives over the past four years, the UN said on Wednesday.
UNICEF representative Mohammad Ibrahim told Pajhwok Afghan News 234,000 children remained out of school in the zone despite the progress the agency had made in other areas over the past five years.
He linked the problem to a widespread presence of militants, frequent clashes and insecurity in the region. He briefed provincial department heads and other officials on UNICEF performance over the last five years.
Hundreds of children were still engages in hard labour as their families were faced with abject poverty, Ibrahim noted. “Even now, we have no access to safe water and toilets in rural areas.”
A key objective behind the meeting was to design different programmes so as to address the basic problems, the official said.
Nangarhar Director of Economy Samiullah Nasrat said the conference, jointly organised by UNICEF and his department, was to evaluate the five-year performance of the agency and make programmes for the next half a decade.
Kunar public health official Mohammad Ishaq said more than 12,000 children could not be administered polio drops in six restive districts of the province. He identified opposition from some religious scholars as a key problem that needed to be resolved.
Child rights campaigner Ghulam Hussain Bewas claimed hundreds of children were engaged in hard labour in the Torkham border town of Nangarhar. A large number of minors toil at 64 different brick-kilns in Surkhrod.
Nuristan official Sher Alam also complained of child labour in Paron, the provincial capital, and all districts. The authorities had failed to address the issue, he confessed.
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